Archive for the ‘Bridges and stairs’ Category

Preparing to Finish the Atrium

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

One of the nagging issues that we’ve been facing is, ‘how to finish the upper parts (e.g., ceiling) of the Atrium.’  The issue relates to access, since the ceiling is 24 ft 6 inches above the finished floor.  Actually, the issue relates to safety too, as anything dropping from above could land on someone or, if a person slipped or fell, they would land on 20 inches of solid concrete, which is not very resiliant.

We solved this problem today by constructing a temporary deck over the two bridges that covered the entire Atrium.  This allows us to use regular ladders to gain access to the ceiling, where we will be putting lights and speakers, and then finishing the ceiling with the refinished redwood.  In addition, the temporary deck increases the safety during construction since it reduces the risk of injury or damage relating to materials and tools dropping from the ground floor to the lower level.

Focusing on Safety

Craig Butcher, Chief Safety Officer for Teamwrkx, has monitored the safety relating to our project and he has stressed the importance of reducing hazardous situations.  As well, Ram Reyna, a very good friend who works at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (formerly Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), identified opportunities for us to increase the safety at our job site  in order to meet SLAC’s extremely high safety requirements.  SLAC is hypersensitive to safety and incorporates leading safety practices with all of their construction, maintenance and ongoing operations.

We’ve considered multiple alternatives to increase the safety at our job site, which is somewhat dangerous to start with since it has a opening between the ground floor and the lower level.  The high ceiling in the Atrium and the 9 ft 6 inch ceiling in the lower level combine to make a very tall Atrium.

Yesterday, when reviewing the site with Al DeBeaclair, Bryan had an epiphany regarding how to address the access to the Atrium.  Cover the two bridges with a temporary deck, just like we covered the pool!  Bryan and Al measured the space between the walls and found it to be just more than 16 ft wide and just more than 20 ft long.  Perfect for using 4×8 sheets of plywood on 20 ft 2×8 joists.

The temporary panels could be constructed individually with duplex nails and deck screws.  Al understood quickly and agreed that a temporary deck would be easy to assemble, and disassemble, and solve the access and safety issues.

Assembling the Temporary Deck

The delivery truck from Channel Lumber arrived at 9:30 am this morning.  Chris Tritschler, our salesperson at Channel Lumber, promised that the materials would be delivered on Friday but he said he would do his best to have it delivered today.  And it was!

With the materials on site, Al set up his chop saw in the driveway while his helper, Nep, worked with Bryan to disassemble the temporary wood railings around the Atrium.  Then, Al and Nep measured and cut the 2×8 joists to size and assembled the first 4 ft x 20 ft frame in the driveway.  Getting it in place was easy and then the 3/4 inch plywood went on quickly.

With the first panel in place, the second and subsequent panels were build inside the house. 

Tomorrow, we will put temporary lighting in place so work can proceed in the lower level.

The delivery truck from Channel Lumber unloading our materials at 9:36 am.

The delivery truck from Channel Lumber unloading our materials at 9:36 am.

Nep cutting the straps around the materials so we can start to assemble the temporary decking across the bridges in the Atrium.

Nep cutting the straps around the materials so we can start to assemble the temporary decking across the bridges in the Atrium.

Nep disassembles the temporary wood railings around the Atrium so we can assemble the temporary decking across the bridges.

Nep disassembles the temporary wood railings around the Atrium so we can assemble the temporary decking across the bridges.

Laying out the 2x8 joists for the first panel at the foot fo the driveway on Via Sereno.

Laying out the 2x8 joists for the first panel at the foot fo the driveway on Via Sereno.

Al BeuClair and Nep had the first frame, consisting of five boards, assembled with 12 duplex nails in minutes.

Al DeBeuclair and Nep had the first frame, consisting of five boards, assembled with 12 duplex nails in minutes.

Ready for the first panel.

Ready for the first panel.

 

The first two of four temporary decks in place across the two bridges in the Atrium.

The first two of four temporary decks in place across the two bridges in the Atrium.

With two of the temporary panels in place, the lower level is getting dramatically darker!

With two of the temporary panels in place, the lower level is getting dramatically darker!

The posts will be covered with temporary railings again, after the four panels are in place.

The posts will be covered with temporary railings again, after the four panels are in place.

Three panels in place!

Three panels in place!

View of the Atrium, now dark with the full temporary deck in place across the two bridges.  We need to install some temporary lighting fixtures tomorrow.

View of the Atrium, now dark with the full temporary deck in place across the two bridges. We need to install some temporary lighting fixtures tomorrow.

Installing Temporary Railings on Our Bridges

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

The site needs to be safe and the railings need to go around the entire perimeter of the atrium, including both bridges.  This was the task today – get the railings in place so the site is safe.

Cutting the Decking

We still needed to put the plywood decking over the bridge going to the master suite.  Paul and Laura were going to San Francisco for the day so David Staab agreed to help Bryan for a few hours.

Everyone had fun helping cut the plywood and then Bryan was able to complete the posts and railings by himself. 

Our good friend and Eichler mentor, Jerry Ditto, dropped by at the end of the day to review our progress.  He approved.

And, yes, it was another beautiful, blue-sky California day.

Bryan and Paul planning their work.

Bryan and Paul, standing on the bridge deck (with no railing), planning their work.

The boys are ready to go to work ...

The boys are ready to go to work ...

Measure twice, cut once ...

Measure twice, cut once ...

Starting to cut ...

Starting to cut ...

Finishing the cut.

Finishing the cut.

Having fun before Paul and Laura leave for San Francisco.

Having fun before Paul and Laura leave for San Francisco.

The decking, posts and railing are completed on the bridge to the master suite.

The decking, posts and railing are completed on the bridge to the master suite.

Bryan has the posts in place on the bridge.

Bryan has the posts in place on the bridge.

Bryan has the first railing on now.

Bryan has the first railing on now.

Jerry Ditto dropped by to review our project (and, he approved).

Jerry Ditto dropped by to review our project (and, he approved).

We're done!  The bridges are now much safer with the decking, posts and railings in place.

We

Initial Measuring for Our Glass Bridge Decking

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

One of the two interior bridges in our house will have glass decking.  The supplier of the glass decking is Sierra Glass Block, which is the distributor in Northern California for the GlassWalk system.

This feature glass decking will be one of the last components to be installed as we want to limit the number of items that could be damaged through simple accidents on our construction site (e.g., dropping a hammer).

We have been working with Terese Eiseman Keller of Sierra Glass Block and she came by our project site to review the structural steel bridge and take some photos.  Terese had not been to our site since July.

Terese Eiseman Keller, from Sierra Glass Block, taking photos of the bridge that will have the glass decking.

Terese Eiseman Keller, from Sierra Glass Block, taking photos of the bridge that will have the glass decking.

Our Posts are In!

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

With sprinkles in the weather forecast for Monday and rain on Tuesday, we needed to complete welding the final nine posts in place.  We had welded five of the fourteen posts on Thursday.

Welding the Posts

Tony Gutierrez and ‘Little Pete’ arrived just after 8:00 am this morning at our project site.  It was foggy and a bit cool. 

Bryan had the site prepared and the remaining posts laid out.  We were able to start quickly and soon completed the welding on post 33, at the top of the stairs.  This was a complex post as it needed base plates put in and grinding so we could align the bottom of the post correctly.

After post 33, we put post 28 in place, which is on the corner.  This one was a bit tougher and went ok.  Then, we struggled with post 27, an intermediate post.  Finally, it lined up on the third attempt.  We all wanted it perfect.

Back to the top of the staris and we put in post 32, which lined up nicely with post 28.  However, the next intermediate post, post 29, required cutting into the hollow core so we could weld it on all sides.  Posts 29 and 30 were a snap.

Posts in protective wrapping from Paramount Iron Railing Systems

Posts in protective wrapping from Paramount Modular Cable Railing Systems

Little Pete welding a shim in place for post 28.

Little Pete welding a shim in place for post 28.

Tony holding post 28 in place while Little Pete welds it.

Tony Gutierrez holding post 28 in place while Little Pete welds it.

Tony holds post 27 as Little Pete tacks it in place.  We got this one right on the third try.

Tony holds post 27 as Little Pete tacks it in place. We got this one right on the third try.

 Reed and Cole Drop Off a Router

We need to put some temporary railings on the posts so Reed Kingston came by with one of his boys, Cole, and dropped off a router.  They did a quick tour of the site and even tested the stairs.

Reed pointing out some key elements in the plans for his son, Cole.

Reed pointing out some key elements in the plans for his son, Cole.

 

Cole and Reed posing behind the plan table.

Cole and Reed posing behind the plan table.

We’re Done

Then, we moved to the front of the house, to weld posts 16 and 19 into place.  These are the first posts our visitors will see when they enter the house.   Post 16 was perfect.  Post 19 was a bit tough as the cap plate was rotated by 90 degrees.  Tony assessed the situation and explained how we could fix it easily.  Fifteen minutes later, it was in place.

We finished by tacking covers over five openings in the steel where concrete could possible flow when we continue pouring.

Then, we packed up and were done.  Bryan closed and locked the gate just before 2:30 pm.

Our posts are in!

Looking up from the bottom of the atrium.  It was a beautiful, blue-sky California day.

Looking up from the bottom of the atrium. It was a beautiful, blue-sky California day.

Our posts are in and looking great!

Our posts are in and looking great!

Posts 33 (left) and 32 (right), showing the bracings, etc. that will buried in concrete shortly.

Posts 33 (left) and 32 (right), showing the bracings, etc. that will buried in concrete shortly.

Completed posts.  Very nice.

Completed posts. Very nice.

Posts 16 (left) and 19 (right), which are the first two seen when coming in the front door.  Note the clean face of the posts (no holes).

Posts 16 (left) and 19 (right), which are the first two seen when coming in the front door. Note the clean face of the posts (no holes).

Welding Five Posts in Place

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

We welded 5 of the 15 posts in place today.  For a number of reasons, it took much longer than we expected.  We will need another day to weld the remaining 10 posts in place. 

Paramount Modular Cable Railing Systems did a fantastic job fabricating the posts for us.  The posts stainess steel welded to cylinders at the bottom, which will be embedded in the concrete.  The top of each post has a stainless steel bracket that will be recessed in the wooden top rail (Maple wood, from Canada).

Once these posts are welded into place, we will be able to pour more concrete so the posts will be embedded in concrete.

Establishing the Finished Floor Elevation

We had Jorge Ramirez from Bill Brown Construction come to our site this morning so we could ensure the finished floor elevation that he established earlier was consistent with our finished floor elevation for the posts.  The posts were designed and fabricated so the stainless steel shows above the concrete and the round carbon steel is embedded in the concrete (which is welded to the I-beams). 

We wanted to start at 8:00 am but both Jorge and the Larson Steel team were late in arriving.  This threw Bryan off his planned schedule, which included other items.

Jorge brought a laser level with him and, after getting new batteries at the local 7-11 store, we shot the elevation of the garage/kitchen door, which Jorge explained was the finished floor elevation.  This was within 1/16 inch of the elevation of the glass in the north side of Bridge Hall. It appears that the south end of the Bridge Hall is a quarter inch lower than the other three points.

We shot the elevations around the perimeter of the atrium and noted the distance to the finished floor.  We need to establish the elevations for the bottom of the posts so we can weld the posts to the steel I-beams. 

 Establishing the Welding Plan

Hector Guerra, who designed our bridges, arrived with Tony Gutierrez and ‘Little Hector’.  Tony will align the posts and Little Hector, who has been to our site several times, will do the welding.  We were fortunate to have Tony assigned to our project today.  He had extensive experience in making fences and other items from steel where having straight lines and vertically plumb posts are critical. 

Tony, left, and Hector G, right.

Tony Gutierrez, left, and Hector Guerra, right.

Hector and Tony reviewed the site and explained the strategy will be to establish a string line for height and straightness.  Then, the posts can be welded into place so they will be straight, not skewed, vertically plumb, and at the correct elevation. 

The first posts to be welded into place will be the end posts.  Then, the intermediate posts will be welded.  We started with the posts on the north side of the atrium.

Welding Five Posts

Tony and Little Hector completed welding the first five posts in place by just after 3:00 pm.  It was satisfying to see both Tony and Hector lean on the posts and see little, if any, sway.  When the wooden 2×2 top rail is in place the railing system will be solid.  Rock solid.

After completing the first five posts, we moved to the corner post at the top of the stairs.  This is a complex post as it is offset and has very fine tolerances so the cable will be in the correct location for going down the stairs. We had some grinding to do and then we ran out of time.

Laying out the posts, still in their protective foam wrapping.

Laying out the posts, still in their protective foam wrapping.

Welding the supports for the temporary string line in place.

Welding the supports for the temporary string line in place.

Temporary stringline and first post in place.

Temporary stringline and first post in place.

Post 25 in place.  Note the bracket that will be embedded in the wooded top rail.

Post 25 in place. Note the bracket that will be embedded in the wooded top rail.

Post 10 solidly in place.  Note the 3/4 inch space between the bridge and the post, which is where the madrone hardwood will go.

Post 10 solidly in place. Note the 3/4 inch space between the bridge and the post, which is where the madrone hardwood will go.

Post 9.  This is an 'intermediate post' and used to ensure the cables are not stretched to allow a 4 inch sphere to pass between them.

Post 9. This is an 'intermediate post' and used to ensure the cables are not stretched to allow a 4 inch sphere to pass between them.

Post 8, another intermediate post.

Post 8, another intermediate post.

 

Post 7, which is the corner post by the Bridge Hall.  This is the bridge with the glass decking that leads to the Master Suite.

Post 7, which is the corner post by the Bridge Hall. This is the bridge with the glass decking that leads to the Master Suite.

Milling Our Stainless Steel Posts in Carson City, NV

Monday, September 28th, 2009

The stainless steel posts for our railing system are being milled from stainless steel in Carson City, NV.  Steve Kreck from Paramount Modular Cable Railing Systems sent the following photo to show the progress.

The 14 posts that will be welded to the steel I-beams are being milled first so we can have those welded into place and pour the remaining concrete over the hollow core concrete panels.

Stainless steel posts being milled in Carson City, NV.  Note the holes for the Ultra-tec Invisiware receivers.

Stainless steel posts being milled in Carson City, NV. Note the holes for the Ultra-tec Invisiware receivers. Photo credit - Steve Kreck.